Desktop version
Bushwalking gear and paraphernalia. Electronic gadget topics (inc. GPS, PLB, chargers) belong in the 'Techno Babble' sub-forum.

Forum rules

TIP: The online Bushwalk Inventory System can help bushwalkers with a variety of bushwalk planning tasks, including: Manage which items they take bushwalking so that they do not forget anything they might need, plan meals for their walks, and automatically compile food/fuel shopping lists (lists of consumables) required to make and cook the meals for each walk. It is particularly useful for planning for groups who share food or other items, but is also useful for individual walkers.
Post a reply

Yabbie Straws?

Mon 17 Dec, 2007 4:24 pm

Hey folks

As someone who wears a green skin for a living but likes to get out in Tassie when time allows for it this particular bit of kit interests me both professionaly and for recreational use. I have noticed a few people make mention of Yabbie Straws and their use on this forum, but have never heard of them outside of this web community. A google search gives plenty of hits...all of which are to this website.

My question is simple: What is a Yabbie Straw?

Cheers, Tim.

Re: Yabbie Straws?

Mon 17 Dec, 2007 5:13 pm

I reckon that a Yabbie Straw is indispensible on many South West walks, but I take mine everywhere. You never know when it might come in handy. Essentially, it's just a durable flixible tube. In my case it is the overflow pipe from a new motobike battery that I didn't need. It is exactly the same as aquarium airline (so your best bet to get one is to probably buy 30cm of aquarium airline from a pet shop).

In South West Tasmania, everything is always wet, but there is often no creeks or lakes or any good water source. But there are small yabbie holes everywhere in the ground, amongst the button grass or other vegetation (on my last walk we saw no walk yabbie holes were the only water source we saw during the last two days). These always have a bit of water in them, and in many cases are full of water, and if you suck it out with a straw, it usually just seeps back in from the ground around, providing an excellent water source where there often appears to be no good water access. I've also used the yabbie straw to drink water from various tiny puddles including a boot print in the mud on a track where I was thirsty enough.

I'd never suggest that you could avoid having to ever carry any water at all on any track, but it certainly reduces the need to carry water. There's a limit to how much you can carry, when every litre adds another kilogram to the pack weight.

Here's another use of my Yabbie straw when it's been cold, as demostrated by my Dad:

Yabbie Straw.jpg
Yabbie Straw.jpg (74.47 KiB) Viewed 6664 times

I've no idea where the term 'Yabbie Straw' comes from, but I got it from my brother who's done a fair bit of walking. For all I know he made it up, but I really don't know. :-)

Re: Yabbie Straws?

Mon 17 Dec, 2007 7:38 pm


the "Brother" here

I first came across the "Yabbie Straw" on an epic adventure in the SW with Dad (pictured) and veteran explorer David Searl(e?) nearly 20 years ago. We were crossing a low range between Lk Gordon and the Denison River - about 3km of walking on the map but took us 3 days!. There was no water between the lake and the river. David and his Yabbie straw made life much more comfortable and I've taken one with me everwhere ever since. Mind you, his brandy supply helped as well.


Re: Yabbie Straws?

Tue 18 Dec, 2007 9:33 am

Excellent, thanks guys.

I was imagining some sort offilter or something - I am just starting to get used to the whole attitude that exists in the highlands of ACT/NSW that no water is potable without treatement. Apparently Giardia, etc is quite prevalent in most of the water sources up this way. Too many bears in the woods.

Will have to look into getting myslef one of these bad boys for my next trip home (which is incidentaly tonight, but I dont know if I will have chance to get away for more than a daywalk - bit of a whirlwind christmas tour. Am going fishing with the old man but; have been thinking of taking him up into Lake Ball or something a bit out of the way, at least by his standards.)

Re: Yabbie Straws?

Tue 18 Dec, 2007 10:27 am

Wow I have never heard of this!

I can tolerate tablet treated water (just) - so this might come in handy one day!

Ill have to practice but :D

Re: Yabbie Straws?

Fri 11 Jan, 2008 9:09 pm

Just to add to the discussion on this subject, I first came across the 'yabbie straw' in the classic 'South West Book' published by the Australian Conservation Foundation, 1978. It is referred to as a 'yabbie tube' and there is a picture on page 147 which shows a very bearded bushwalker using his straw during a traverse of the Prince of Wales. Its use probably dates back to the 70's or earlier.
If anyone is interested I may be able to scan this image and upload it sometime. Classic photo!

Re: Yabbie Straws?

Sat 12 Jan, 2008 10:46 am

abowen wrote:If anyone is interested I may be able to scan this image and upload it sometime. Classic photo!

If you could do that, including the quote, without any copyright issues, I'd love to see it!

Re: Yabbie Straws?

Sat 12 Jan, 2008 11:42 am

Son of a Beach wrote:
abowen wrote:If anyone is interested I may be able to scan this image and upload it sometime. Classic photo!

If you could do that, including the quote, without any copyright issues, I'd love to see it!

Yeah same. Im new to this yabby straw idea...and although i would prefer to carry extra weight in water than drink out of a boot print, for the extra weight of a yabby straw i may well be convinced to chuck one in.

Re: Yabbie Straws?

Sat 12 Jan, 2008 5:18 pm

See what I can do next week sometime. I am assuming that copyright won't be an issue if the source is referenced and it is not being used for commercial gain. However, correct me if I am wrong.
I do sometimes carry a clear tube, which I could use as a straw. It is a spare for my water bladder. I don't usually carry it on long trips - weight factor. However, if I know that I am going up on some peaks in hot weather I put it in the pack. Have run out of water on the Thumbs north of Adamsfield in some very hot weather (low to mid thirties) and the only water we found was in a soak at the base of a large rock on Packers Spur. Didn't have the tube with me on that occasion, but it would have been useful as the soak was very shallow (only about 50 to 100mm deep). Using mugs and bottles just stirred up the bottom. A straw/tube would have been easy to dip into the surface and draw enough without stirring up the silt.

Re: Yabbie Straws?

Sat 12 Jan, 2008 10:00 pm

The tube from my 2 lt bladder does the same thing thus elimininating the need for two"straws"

Re: Yabbie Straws?

Sun 03 Feb, 2008 5:17 pm

On many of my early trips - we used what we called "slurp tubes" to suck water out of yabbie holes. They were also useful to suck water out of soaks and also footprints. You could also use them to blow air on fires (we are talking about the era before fuel stove only areas). On two trips to the Prince of Wales Range - yabbie holes were the principal source of water - and we took a special long (10 foot - about 3m) plastic tube just for syphoning water. Typically one hole would yield a water bucket full (ie 5 - 6 litres). It is hard to imagine how you could do the trip without this source of water.

However - on recent trips to the Arthurs - most of the yabbie holes seem very dry. I'm not sure if there was water in them - but out of sight?


Re: Yabbie Straws?

Fri 08 Feb, 2008 12:31 am

I have always known these lengths of plastic pipe as "Yabbie tubes," even in Queensland bushwalking with BBW back in the 1970's. I seem to recall that the term there migrated from the contact with Tasmanian walkers. Here is a photo showing the use of yabbie tubes on a LWC walk on the Prince of Wales Range a few years ago.
Yabbie Tubes,POW Range.jpg
Last edited by tas-man on Tue 01 Sep, 2009 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Yabbie Straws?

Wed 04 Mar, 2009 2:01 pm

Hi All,
Meant to put this picture up ages ago, but had forgotten about it. The use of yabbie straws goes back a long way.
Yabbie Straw.jpg
Extract from the South West Book

Re: Yabbie Straws?

Sat 07 Mar, 2009 11:43 pm

Just did a short video to 'promote' the yabbie straw. ... bbie-straw

Re: Yabbie Straws?

Mon 31 Aug, 2009 8:41 pm

You live and learn. How did I manage to spend so long in Tassie and never come across these things? Maybe that's the price for going solo all the time . . .

Re: Yabbie Straws?

Tue 20 Nov, 2012 7:39 pm

i have came across this in mountaineering book. people carry small straws to suck water up of the rock/ ice/ moss as they climb

Re: Yabbie Straws?

Wed 21 Nov, 2012 7:34 pm

Very Cool.

I want one just so I can boast i have to carry a Yabby Straw :).

Re: Yabbie Straws?

Wed 21 Nov, 2012 9:00 pm

Just a thought...perhaps someone could combine a Yabbie straw with a life straw or something similar....that would cover any concerns regarding sterilisation and accessibility to vital hard-to-get water.
Post a reply